DESERT BOTANICAL GARDENS // PHOENIX DAY 2

So I'm in the Phoenix area for a single day (yesterday!) legal conference, but lucky me, Allegiant only flies Monday and Friday between Phoenix and Bozeman. So I've got a couple of days to enjoy the desert before heading back to the mountains and I'm not mad about it. 

 

I spent this morning touring the Desert Botanical Gardens and all of a sudden, this ocean girl is seriously rethinking my favorite landscape. The desert is incredible! It's amazing how many species of plants flourish in such a harsh landscape. And mesquite trees: have you ever had mesquite flour? It's made from ground up beans from the mesquite tree and is SO. FREAKING. GOOD. It's a little sweet and now I need to find some for all the baking I don't do.

Anyway, I strolled through the butterfly garden to catch the tail end of their time here. It's so cool to just sit and watch them fly all around you. Normally, giant flying bugs are not my jam, but butterflies totally are.

 

Carrying on now...I wandered the various trails and am just blown away by how gorgeous these desert plants are. And the mountains: I'm used to mountains, but the mountains here are so different from the ones in Montana and it's so beautiful. So I will not be getting on my flight back to Bozeman on Friday. If you need me, I'll be wandering through the desert, likely stuck with cactus needles and dehydrated, but loving every second of it.

Kidding...I'll be back. At least until I can swing snowbird status.

Earth Day + Weekend Shenanigans

Anyone else feel like there should be an extra day in the weekend? I can't figure out who decided it was a good idea to work five days a week and only play two. Oh well. We made the most of our short weekend in the Bitterroot and celebrated Earth Day by racing out to Roaring Lion to catch the sunrise.

We missed the sunrise but the view was still beautiful. This area burned badly during last year's fire season, so we had a clear view of the mountains and valleys with no trees left in the way. For better or worse, it provided a good opportunity to chat about responsible land management, which is always a hot-button issue. Selective logging for forest management purposes is always a contentious issue, but forest fires that break out in forests that have not been managed can be truly devastating for the forest and for those who build in those areas. This blog is no place for political persuasion, so I'll end this with a simple reminder of the importance of taking your time to understand the pros and cons of a proposed action.

 

After chasing the sunrise, we headed out to the Sula area so Dylan could show me around his hunting grounds. I also learned that Lars Ulrich, Metallica's drummer, lives right there, so that's cool. Dylan said he's a pretty nice guy, too.

 

Anyway, as usual, the weekend went way too fast, but we spent it enjoying the grandeur of the Bitterroot Valley and making friends with the locals. In this case, a young moose. And no, we didn't actually approach the moose, try to feed it, take a selfie with it, or anything else that you shouldn't do with wildlife, regardless of whether it lives in town. Safety first!

I hope you all had a great weekend - tell me about it!

 

Long weekend shenanigans

     I took last Friday off to celebrate Dylan's birthday weekend and it was so nice to have an extra day to just hang out! We spent a couple hours in Missoula on Saturday (mostly eating) - it was totally worth it. Notorious P.I.G. has INCREDIBLE bbq!

     Pro tip: get the burnt ends and fire and ice pickles. I promise you won't regret it ;)

     After lunch, we decided to stroll around downtown. I'm a sucker for a good sign and local distilleries, so Montgomery Distillery was our next stop. They have the coolest interior there and I could spend WAY too much time on their couch. In fact I did...it's this gorgeous worn camel-colored leather and it's right next to this huge window, so it's this perfect cozy spot to sit and sip your cocktail and admire the most interesting bae in all the land.

     Pro tip: these guys are seriously master crafters when it comes to cocktails. Pick something on the menu that you wouldn't normally pick - you'll be so pleasantly surprised! 

    Saturday's adventures wore me out. Lucky me though: our good friends made us brunch Sunday morning before I headed back to Bozeman. Both Kevin and Stefanie are in the restaurant industry: Kevin as a chef and Stefanie as front-of-house. They are so gifted and they have the cutest little boy. 

     Last pro tip: if you want to experience Kevin's culinary talents yourself, go grab lunch or dinner at the Top Hat!

Brewery hopping on a rainy Saturday

   So this is my first "personal" post and in it, I will share a little about my S/O and partner/second shooter. Those of you who know me personally almost certainly know of Dylan as well: he's my adventure partner/shoulder to cry on/second shooter/additional set of eyes on EVERYTHING. I couldn't do any of this without him.

   Anyway, Dylan is living in Hamilton for work right now, which is a total bummer during the week, but it means I have a reason to get out of town on the weekends - which is what I did last weekend. We watched the snowmobile hill climb for a little while on Saturday, then checked out a couple of Bitterroot Valley breweries for kicks and giggles. The first is a favorite for both of us: Higher Ground Brewing Co. in Hamilton has AMAZING pizza and great beer. At some point, Dylan mentioned that there was a brewery in Darby that is allegedly the narrowest brewery in the state - that seemed reason enough to check it out. 

     Bandit Brewing Co. in Darby is TINY! I don't know for sure if it's the narrowest, but I believe it. Anyway, it was super cool and moody and we were greeted by a horse - A HORSE! - fully tacked up and tied to the hitching post outside (yes, apparently there's enough need for a hitching post!). His owner told us he frequents the brewery on horseback, then rides home after he's done. Apparently, he's a great horse. Either way, he was totally friendly and loved the camera. 

     Unfortunately, Bandit was out of those brews the bartender deemed the best, but the ones they did have on tap were good anyway and the bartender was great. 'Twas a good day indeed!